Thursday, May 26, 2022

Our weekly column from the humor site PreOccupied Territory.

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TantalusTartarus, May 26 - A Greek demigod sentenced to have the objects of his fondest desires always eluding his grasp took solace today upon realizing that the fate of Israel's current Alternative Prime Minister outstrips his own in intensity: whereas the demigod suffers the constant deprivation of the delicious fruit above and the refreshing water below him always moving away when he reaches for them, the head of the Yesh Atid Party suffers even more, by having the helm of the Jewish State within his reach twice already, only to have the government collapse once and on the verge of doing so again - when the coalition agreement calls for him to assume the office of prime minister late next year.

Tantalus, the forever-tormented son of the god Zeus and the nymph Plouto, conceded Thursday that he does not envy Yair Lapid, who will, it appears, be denied his long-coveted opportunity to become Prime Minister of Israel because the current government of Naftali Bennett hangs by a thread that weakens each day.

"Oh, I wouldn't want to be in his shoes," remarked the mythological figure whose name gave English the word "tantalizing." "That level of seeing something you've been working toward for years and years, only to watch, helplessly, as it slips away from you not once, but twice, perhaps more... Well, as Count Rugen put it in The Princess Bride, when he thinks he's just fatally wounded Inigo Montoya and foiled the lifelong vendetta, 'I think that's the worst thing I've ever heard.'"

Lapid, the son of the late kingmaking centrist politician Yosef Lapid, and a former television personality, launched his political career during the previous decade and in the interim has formed a series of alliances that he parlayed into a succession of power-sharing arrangements, the latest of which has him assuming the premiership in late 2023 - but, like the previous governments that Yesh Atid has helped form, the current one drifts ever-closer to collapse: a razor-thin majority in the 120-seat Knesset degraded even further last month when one lawmaker defected to the opposition; the only reason for the government's survival lies in the fractured nature of that opposition and its inability to unite around an alternative. Continued dissatisfaction among the Coalition members, whose ideologically-diverse composition prevents significant legislation on a range of critical issues facing the country and contributes to mounting frustration that experts predict will topple the government within the next several months - and deprive Lapid of yet another opportunity to rule that he has coveted for so long.

"Yeah, I've got it bad, but Zeus must really, really have it in for old Yair," mused Tantalus. "I wonder what Lapid did to rouse such Olympian ire?"

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

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